DEAR HARRIETTE: I am wondering what should I do if I no longer want to be friends with someone. I was friends with this girl who used to live in my dorm, and everyone (70 people) warned me that she is crazy. There had been drama, I guess, but I was abroad when it happened and I don't like to judge people based off other people's opinions, so I decided to give it a chance. We had a lot in common, but after a few months, I realized she is nuts. Not only that, but she uses crass and vulgar language, especially in mixed company, and she tries to act all tough and hard, often making comments to others we are with about how she used to date drug dealers. She can be rude at the flip of a switch. When one of my friends couldn't hang out with her, she sent my friend a long text message cursing her out. She also has the tendency to talk really openly about her boyfriend. I've met her boyfriend once, and they both would talk about how they cheated on each other or other explicit sexual things they do.
In essence, I don't think she is the type of person I want to be friends with, and she is not someone I want people to think I am associated with. This may seem mean, but she and her boyfriend act kind of like white trash, and I don't want to be bothered. Not to mention the fact that her boyfriend is this white guy who acts all hood and uses the N-word constantly to refer to his friends as a term of endearment, but I don't find it amusing.
How should I go about distancing myself from her? I don't want to be rude, but I also don't want to be friends anymore. -- No Home Training, Boston
DEAR NO HOME TRAINING: To sever your relationship with this woman and her boyfriend gracefully, start by actually stopping your judgment of her. Stop thinking of her as crazy or of them as "white trash." Instead, acknowledge that you do not want to be friends with her anymore. Decide that you are prepared to walk away -- even if the short-term repercussions mean that she may talk about you. It doesn't matter what she or her boyfriend says about you. You know yourself.
You can simply stop contacting her, agreeing to hang out, talking to her on the phone, etc. Or you can wish her well as you tell her that you have decided to stop hanging out with the two of them. If she asks why, tell her that her behavior upsets you.